Are you finding easy credit card processing for small businesses?
In today’s business environment, the ability to accept credit card payments is virtually a necessity. This requires partnering with a top credit card processing company for small businesses. A thorough evaluation of numerous credit card processors has led to a list of the best ones, chosen for their affordability, simplicity in setup and usage, customer support, and other vital features. These processors are selected to help businesses find a solution that fits their transaction needs effectively.
What Is Credit Card Processing?
A credit card processing company serves as a bridge enabling businesses to accept credit card payments. It connects key players in the transaction process: credit card networks, issuing banks, and the merchant’s payment processing account.
When a customer makes a payment, either in-store or online, the processor securely handles the transfer of data, facilitates payment authorization, collects funds from the customer’s bank, and deposits them into the merchant’s account, typically within a day or two.
The Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Small Businesses
In 2024, the landscape of top credit card processing companies offers diverse options catering to specific business needs:
- Stripe: Tops for businesses operating across multiple channels.
- Square: Ideal for businesses that require mobile transaction capabilities.
- Stax (formerly Fattmerchant): A go-to choice for businesses with a high volume of sales.
- PayPal: Perfect for businesses that frequently use PayPal and Venmo.
- Clover: Stands out for businesses with specialized point-of-sale needs.
- Payment Depot: Known for offering the lowest card processing rates.
- Helcim: Favoured by rapidly expanding businesses.
- Gravity Payments: Specializes in serving niche industries.
- Merchant One: Offers tiered processing fees suitable for varied transaction volumes.
- Elavon Payment Processing: A leading option for businesses operating internationally.
Each of these companies provides unique features and pricing structures tailored to different types of businesses.
Best Credit Card processing for small business
When choosing the top credit card processing for a small business, consider several factors like transaction volume, business type, and specific needs. Here are popular options include. Each processor has its unique features, fee structures, and ease of use, so it’s important to match the processor with your business requirements.
Tops for businesses operating across multiple channels
Stripe is a prominent credit card processing company known for its effectiveness in handling online and mobile app-based transactions. It offers a flat-rate fee structure and supports a wide variety of payment methods, including mobile wallets and international options.
- In-person payments: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
- Online payments: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
- Keyed-in payments: 3.4% + 30 cents per transaction
Stripe is also compatible with major e-commerce and accounting platforms, providing versatile payment solutions for businesses. It suits small businesses seeking a comprehensive and adaptable online payment system and integrates Stripe with Elementor.
Read out: The Comprehensive Comparison of Stripe
Here are the Pro and Cons of Stripe:
|Pros of Stripe
|Cons of Stripe
|Versatile Integration: Easily integrates with various e-commerce platforms and websites.
|Requires Technical Knowledge: Setup and management can be complex without technical skills.
|Customizable: Flexible API allows for tailored payment solutions.
Ideal for businesses that require mobile transaction capabilities.
Square is highly recommended for businesses needing mobile transaction capabilities. It’s a user-friendly platform that excels in processing payments on the go, making it a favorite for small businesses, especially those that operate remotely or have mobile needs like food trucks, market vendors, and service professionals. Square’s straightforward setup and easy-to-use interface contribute to its popularity in this sector.
- In-person payments: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction
- Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction
- Keyed-in payments: 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction
|Pros of Square
|Cons of Square
|User-Friendly: Simple interface, easy for beginners.
|Limited Features for Large Businesses: May not meet the needs of larger or more complex businesses.
|Versatile for Small Transactions: Ideal for small businesses with mobile or low-volume sales.
Perfect for businesses that frequently use PayPal and Venmo.
PayPal is an optimal choice for businesses that frequently engage with PayPal and Venmo, offering seamless integration with these popular payment platforms. It’s particularly advantageous for companies looking to leverage the widespread use and familiarity of PayPal and Venmo among consumers, providing a user-friendly and recognizable payment option.
- In-person payments: 2.29% plus 9 cents per transaction (using PayPal Zettle)
- Online payments: 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction
- Keyed-in payments: 3.49% plus 9 cents per transaction (using PayPal Zettle)
- Venmo payments: 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction
- QR Code Payments: From 1.9% plus 10 cents to 2.4% plus 5 cents per transaction
This integration facilitates easy and efficient transactions, enhancing customer convenience and trust, which is beneficial for businesses aiming to streamline their payment processes and expand their customer reach.
|Pros of PayPal
|Cons of PayPal
|Widely Recognized: Trusted by consumers globally, enhancing customer confidence.
|Fees for Transactions: Can have higher transaction fees, especially for international payments.
|Easy Integration: Simple to use and integrate with online platforms.
Known for offering the lowest card processing rates.
Payment Depot is recognized for offering some of the industry’s most competitive card processing rates. This makes it an attractive option for businesses looking to minimize their transaction costs. Its reputation for low processing fees is a key factor in its appeal to a wide range of businesses seeking cost-effective payment solutions.
Payment Depot offers plans starting at $79 per month for businesses with annual transactions up to $250,000. Their pricing model includes a small per-transaction fee, ranging from 7 to 15 cents, plus the interchange rate.
|Pros of Payment Depot
|Cons of Payment Depot
|Competitive Rates: Known for offering some of the lowest card processing rates.
|Limited for Small Volumes: May not be as cost-effective for businesses with lower transaction volumes.
|Volume Discounts: Offers discounts for businesses with higher transaction volumes.
A go-to choice for businesses with a high volume of sales.
Stax, previously known as Fattmerchant, is highly recommended for businesses experiencing a high volume of sales. It’s designed to cater to the needs of such businesses with its pricing structure and features, making it a suitable choice for larger small businesses or those with growing transaction volumes.
Stax provides a range of software packages priced between $49 and $129 monthly, featuring tools like dashboards, reporting, ACH processing, invoicing, Text2Pay, and enhanced reporting and support. Additionally, customers have the option to select from various add-ons, such as a one-click shopping cart, QuickBooks Online Pro Sync, and same-day funding, to further customize their experience and streamline their business operations.
|Pros of Stax
|Cons of Stax
|Customizable Plans: Offers a range of software packages tailored to business needs.
|Pricing Complexity: The tiered pricing model can be complex to understand for some businesses.
|Advanced Features: Includes invoicing, ACH processing, and other advanced tools.
Elavon Payment Processing:
A leading option for businesses operating internationally.
Elavon Payment Processing is particularly effective for businesses that operate on a global scale. Its ability to handle international transactions makes it a valuable asset for companies that need to navigate the complexities of different currencies and cross-border payment regulations. Elavon’s services are designed to simplify international transactions, providing a seamless experience for businesses expanding or operating in multiple countries.
|Pros of Elavon
|Cons of Elavon
|Global Operations: Ideal for businesses with international transactions.
|Pricing isn’t transparent
|Around-the-clock customer support
|Global operations could mean varying levels of service quality across countries
|Comprehensive Solutions: Offers a wide range of services for diverse business needs.
Specializes in serving niche industries.
Gravity Payments is particularly adept at addressing the specific needs of niche industries. This capability allows them to provide highly customized payment processing solutions, ensuring that businesses in specialized markets receive services that are closely aligned with their unique operational and transactional requirements. This specialization in niche markets makes Gravity Payments a valuable partner for businesses in sectors that might not be well-served by more generalized payment processing providers.
Niche businesses in niche markets that need custom payment solutions can use it.
|Pros of Gravity
|Cons of Gravity
|Specialized Solutions: Excels in providing services tailored for niche industries.
|Pricing isn’t transparent
|24/7 support, perfect for businesses with nonstandard operating hours
|Unresponsive customer service
|Personalized Support: Known for offering dedicated and customized customer service.
Stands out for businesses with specialized point-of-sale needs.
Clover is particularly suited for businesses that require specialized point-of-sale (POS) solutions. It’s designed to cater to unique POS needs, offering a range of customizable features and hardware options that can be tailored to various business types and operational requirements.
Clover offers a variety of business-specific plans that cater to different needs and budgets, with prices ranging from $14.95 to $290 per month. These plans vary based on the type of service, tier, and hardware requirements.
Clover’s flexibility and adaptability make it a standout choice for businesses seeking a POS system that can be specifically configured to their individual needs.
|Pros of Clover
|Cons of Clover
|Customizable POS Systems: Offers tailored solutions for specific business needs.
|Hardware Costs: Initial investment in hardware can be high.
|Variety of Features: Supports a wide range of business operations and transactions.
|Monthly Fees: Some plans come with monthly fees which might add up.
Offers tiered processing fees suitable for varied transaction volumes.
Merchant One is recognized for its tiered processing fee structure, which is particularly suited for businesses with varying transaction volumes. This approach allows businesses to select a pricing model that aligns with their specific volume of sales, making it a flexible option for companies with fluctuating transaction levels.
Merchant One stands out for its highly competitive pricing, with some of the lowest monthly rates starting at $13.95, plus attractive processing rates. Their rates for swiped and keyed-in transactions are also competitive, varying based on factors like business type, equipment needs, and sales volume. Merchant One tailors its pricing per quote and offers interchange-plus pricing, making it a flexible choice for businesses with diverse transaction needs.
|Pros of Merchant One
|Cons of Merchant One
|Competitive Rates: Offers some of the lowest pricing in the market.
|Limited Features: May lack some advanced features offered by other providers.
|Customized Pricing: Rates are tailored based on business type and sales volume.
|Additional Fees: There may be extra fees that businesses need to be aware of.
Favored by rapidly expanding businesses.
Helcim is a popular choice for rapidly expanding businesses due to its ability to efficiently scale with a company’s growth. It offers a range of features and services that cater to the evolving needs of growing businesses, ensuring that payment processing capabilities can keep pace with increasing transaction volumes and changing business models. This adaptability and scalability make Helcim a favorable option for businesses amid expansion.
Helcim offers monthly volume discounts, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses with increasing transaction volumes.
- $0 to $50,000: In person: 0.40% plus 8 cents; keyed or online: 0.50% plus 25 cents
- $50,001 to $100,000: In person: 0.35% plus 7 cents; keyed or online: 0.45% plus 20 cents
- $100,001 to $500,000: In person: 0.25% plus 7 cents; keyed or online: 0.35% plus 20 cents
- $500,001 to $1,000,000: In person: 0.20% plus 6 cents; keyed or online: 0.25% plus 15 cents
- $1,000,001-plus: In person: 0.15% plus 6 cents; keyed or online 0.15% plus 15 cents
|Pros of Helcim
|Cons of Helcim
|Transparent Pricing: Known for clear and honest pricing structures.
|Limited Plan Options: Offers fewer plan choices compared to some providers.
|Interchange-Plus Pricing: Provides competitive interchange-plus pricing.
|Setup Complexity: Setting up the system may require some technical knowledge.
Way To Choose the Best Credit Card Processing Company for small businesses
Choosing the best credit card processing company for your business involves considering several factors:
- Sales Volume: Your average monthly sales volume can influence the most cost-effective processing service.
- Sales Channels: Identify whether your sales are in-person, online, mobile, or a combination, as this determines the type of processing hardware and system needed.
- Equipment and Software Needs: Consider whether you require free equipment, POS systems, or compatibility with existing systems.
- Business Type: High-risk businesses or those selling restricted items might need specific processors.
- Fund Access Speed: If quick access to funds is crucial, look for providers offering expedited services.
- Customer Support: Evaluate the level of support offered, especially for critical issues.
- Global Sales: If selling internationally, ensure the processor supports international cards and currency exchange.
- Advanced Features: Features like online invoicing, QR codes, and ACH payments might be necessary for your operations.
- Data Security: Confirm that the processor adheres to PCI compliance for secure transactions.
Aligning these aspects with your business needs will help in selecting the most suitable credit card processing company.
Understand the Credit Card Processing Fees and Costs
Credit card processing companies structure their pricing around four primary fees: interchange fees, assessment fees, processor markup fees, and monthly account or statement fees. Familiarizing yourself with these components of credit card processing fees can help you make informed decisions and identify the most suitable payment processing service for your business.
Interchange fees are determined by card brands like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and others. These are the fundamental, unavoidable costs associated with processing credit card transactions. Often referred to as wholesale or base fees, interchange fees typically range from 1% to 2% of the transaction amount. Payment processing companies collect interchange fees during transactions and subsequently remit these funds to issuing banks as compensation for the credit services provided.
Interchange rates can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as the merchant’s industry, transaction type, and the specific brand and type of card used. Below are some examples of factors that influence the interchange rates merchants pay for processing credit cards:
- Transaction type: Card-not-present transactions, such as online sales, typically incur higher interchange rates compared to in-store sales, where physical card swiping occurs.
- Debit vs. credit card: Debit cards generally carry lower interchange rates than credit cards due to their lower perceived credit risk.
- Card brand: Discover and American Express tend to have higher interchange rates than Visa and Mastercard.
- Card type: Reward, corporate, and governmental purchasing cards often come with higher interchange rates than non-reward cards because administering these programs incurs more costs for issuing banks.
Assessment fees, also known as per-transaction fees, are set by card brands as well. These fees are flat, per-transaction charges that are added to interchange fees and typically range from 1 to 5 cents per transaction, depending on the type of card and the nature of the transaction.
Similar to interchange fees, assessment fees are collected by card processing companies during transactions. However, these fees are directed to the card associations (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) rather than the issuing banks.
Processor Markup Fees
Processor markup fees represent the charges imposed by credit card processing companies for their services. The actual markup fees can vary depending on the processing fee structure chosen by the merchant, whether it’s a straightforward markup percentage (like interchange-plus), complex tiered rates, or simple flat-rate fees.
Each fee structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we will delve into in greater detail below. In summary, markup costs can differ significantly from one processor to another, emphasizing the importance of shopping around for the most favorable terms.
In addition to markup fees, many credit card processing companies levy monthly fees for specific services, such as statements, online gateways, PCI compliance, and hardware like card terminals and processing equipment. Some providers consolidate all these services under a single monthly account or subscription fee.
A few providers, such as Square, Stripe, and PayPal, do not charge monthly fees for credit card processing services. However, these providers typically offset this by offering slightly higher flat-rate processing fees compared to processors that combine monthly fees with lower transaction rates.
Some credit card processing companies may include add-on and conditional fees that can influence your overall processing expenses. To avoid surprises on your monthly statements, always review the fine print for additional fees when evaluating different credit card processing companies.
Additional costs to consider include:
- Chargeback fees: Unfortunately, chargebacks are an inevitable aspect of accepting credit cards, and the cost associated with processing a chargeback can vary considerably among processing services.
- Batch processing fees: Certain tiered and traditional merchant service providers may impose per-batch fees.
- Setup or termination fees: Card processing services that offer negotiated or tiered rate plans may require contracts with associated setup costs and substantial early termination fees.
- Monthly minimum fees: Some providers with negotiated or tiered rate plans may impose monthly fees if the minimum contracted transaction volume isn’t met.
- Same-day funding fees: Most card processing services typically deposit funds within one to two business days without any extra charges. However, some may charge a fee for instant or same-day access to processed funds.”
Conclusion about Free/paid Credit Card processing
In conclusion, finding the best Credit Card processing for small businesses is a multifaceted task, as it depends on several factors, including transaction volumes, budget constraints, and specific business needs. Options such as Square, Stripe, and PayPal, often associated with medium to high transaction volumes, provide competitive rates and versatile payment processing solutions.
For those seeking low-cost alternatives, easy credit card processing for small businesses or credit card processing for business owners might be viable choices, although they may offer fewer features. Businesses on the move may benefit from mobile credit card processing options like the best mobile credit card processing for small businesses. For budget-conscious entrepreneurs, the cheapest merchant services for small businesses could be a consideration, but it’s crucial to ensure the selected service aligns with individual requirements.
Ultimately, the ideal credit card processing solution will combine cost-effectiveness with secure transactions, seamless integration, and responsive customer support, tailored to the unique needs of each small business owner.
Which credit card processor is the cheapest for small businesses?
For small businesses, Square, Stripe, and PayPal are often the most cost-effective credit card processing options due to transparent pricing, low fees, and pay-as-you-go models. Choose based on your specific transaction volume and needs. Rates may vary, so regular review is advisable.
Which mobile credit card processing for small businesses?
For small businesses, popular mobile credit card processing options include Square for its simplicity and transparent pricing, PayPal Here for seamless integration with PayPal accounts, and SumUp for affordable card readers and straightforward pricing. Choose based on your specific business needs and preferences.
How do I online credit card processing for business?
To process credit card payments online, you need a payment gateway, a merchant account, and an SSL-secured website. Integrate the payment gateway into your website, securely collect customer information, and authorize transactions. Ensure compliance with security standards like PCI DSS to protect customer data.
Which credit card processing online for business owners?
Popular online credit card processing options for business owners include Stripe and PayPal, offering user-friendly platforms, various payment methods, and secure transactions for e-commerce businesses. Choose based on your specific business needs and preferences.
which is the best and cheapest merchant service for small businesses?
Square and Stripe are often considered among the best and most cost-effective merchant services for small businesses due to their transparent pricing, competitive rates, and user-friendly platforms. Choose the one that aligns with your specific business needs and payment volume.